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Pak vs NZ: New Zealand big players to prefer IPL over country

Pak vs NZ: New Zealand big players to prefer IPL over country

Pakistan’s full-strength cricket team will take on a weakened New Zealand squad in a five-match T20 series starting from Friday in Lahore. Due to the Indian Premier newLeague, eight Kiwi players are missing, including skipper Kane Williamson, who is suffering from a knee injury. Consequently, batsman Tom Latham will lead the team, allowing newcomers to showcase their talent.

Pakistan’s top cricketers participated in the first edition of the IPL in 2008, but they have been excluded ever since, reflecting the frosty diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries. After the T20 series, both teams will also play five one-day internationals, preparing for the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India this year.

Pakistan’s key players, including skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf, will return for the T20 series after being rested for the recent losing series against Afghanistan. Shaheen’s return will be his first international match since injuring his knee in the World Cup final.

Pakistan’s new backroom team, led by former New Zealand all-rounder Grant Bradburn, will coach the team for the ten matches from Abdur Rehman. Ihsanullah, a new sensation who bowls at a ferocious 150 kilometers an hour, will keep his place in the squad despite the disastrous loss against Afghanistan, along with opener Saim Ayub and pacer Zaman Khan.

“We have a good squad that marries the exuberance of youth and the experience of senior cricketers,” said skipper Azam. He added that they would not underestimate the weakened Black Caps side and would bring their ‘A’ game to secure good results.

New Zealand’s interim coach Shane Jurgensen remains confident despite missing many players. “It will be a quick turnaround from the fantastic series win against Sri Lanka,” said Jurgensen of New Zealand’s 2-1 T20 victory. Saqlain Mushtaq, former spin-king, will be Jurgensen’s assistant, only two months after completing his stint as Pakistan’s head coach.

The tour serves as some compensation for New Zealand’s withdrawal from their visit to Pakistan on the day of the first game in September 2021, citing security concerns. The Black Caps played two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan just three months ago.

The remaining four T20 matches will be played on April 15 and 17 in Lahore and on April 20 and 24 in Rawalpindi. The Pakistan squad includes Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, and Zaman Khan. The New Zealand squad comprises Tom Latham (captain), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Will Young, Dane Cleaver, Cole McConchie, and Blair Tickner.

Also, see:

Pakistan vs New Zealand: Tickets Now on Sale for T20I Series

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